Calhoun County

Chipola RiverThis river is home to the unique shoal bass. Note that shoal bass regulations changed this past year and are detailed below. The Chipola River is accessible in Marianna off CR 280 (Magnolia Rd), Peacock Bridge Rd (located north of Sink Creek), SR 274 west of Altha on Hamilton Spring Rd, and SR 20 at Clarksville. This very scenic, spring-fed coldwater river stretches about 95 miles starting just north of Marianna and running south through the Dead Lake and into the Apalachicola River. The Chipola River has fast water shoals and provides excellent sunfish (redbreast, redear and bluegill) fishing in the spring depending on the water level. Boat operators should be cautious of these shallow limestone shoals while running your boat in this river during low water.

Local information on these rivers and their fishes may be obtained from the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Northwest Regional Office (850-265-3676). Information regarding canoe, kayak, and tube float trips on the Chipola River can be obtained from Chipola River Outfitters (850-762-2800 or 850-381-6062) or Bear Paw Adventures (850-482-4948). Bear Paw Adventures is closed during the winter but will reopen March 1st.

Statewide bag and length limits for black bass are: 5 Black bass (including largemouth, Suwannee, spotted, Choctaw, and shoal bass, individually or in total), only one of which may be 16 inches or longer in total length. There is no statewide minimum length limit for largemouth bass. There is a 12 inch minimum length limit for shoal bass, Choctaw bass, and spotted bass. Anglers should also note that there is a catch and release only conservation zone for shoal bass between Peacock Bridge and Johnny Boy Landing. Anglers may possess largemouth bass in this section.

Anglers should always be mindful of the rocky limestone shoals and snags in the river. During low river levels travel upstream through shallow, swift shoals may be impossible so anglers should plan accordingly. View daily river levels and flow. External Website

Local information on these rivers and their fishes may be obtained from the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Northwest Regional Office (850-265-3676).

 

Popular species:

Popular fish species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

 

TrophyCatchTrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch External link is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger.

Be the first to submit a trophy bass from the Chipola River!

 

 

Current Forecast:

The Chipola River should be low during the fall and the fish should be active. Daily river levels External link are available. The Chipola River is the best river in Florida to target Shoal Bass. For those anglers targeting shoal bass try fishing in, above, and below shoal areas between Magnolia Bridge and Johnny Boy landing. The best baits for shoal bass are artificial baits that mimic crayfish, like small crankbaits. Catch-and-release is recommended for this unique fish species. There is a 12 inch minimum length limit for shoal bass. Anglers should also note that there is a catch and release only conservation zone for shoal bass between Peacock Bridge and Johnny Boy Landing. Anglers may possess largemouth bass in this section. Shoal bass are typically found in rocky areas with fast moving water while largemouth bass are often found in slower moving water and near woody structures. Anglers should always be mindful of the rocky limestone shoals and snags in the river. Anglers should be cautious as log jams and other navigational hazards may have changed.

Largemouth bass can also be found in these areas, but are more concentrated below Highway 20 or in deeper sandy pools around snags. Largemouth can be caught using the same baits as shoal bass. Redbreast sunfish, bluegill and stumpknockers (spotted sunfish) can also be found in these areas and can be caught using 1/16oz beetle spins and/ or worms; they will also be caught on small crayfish lures. Anglers fly fishing should fish early morning or late afternoon for bass and bream (bluegill, spotted sunfish, and redear sunfish). Try a “popper-dropper” combination around areas of slow moving current.



FWC Facts:
Gulf sturgeon are considered anadromous, from the Greek, meaning fishes that travel back and forth between fresh and salt water.

Learn More at AskFWC